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date: 17 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Can Israel be both Jewish and democratic? If Jewishness is seen properly as ethnicity, Israeli democracy should be judged by the same standards as other nation-states. The Jewish community in Palestine, and later Israel, faced serious objective difficulties in democratization but drew on a traditional Jewish politics that emphasized voluntary consent and inclusion. Standard rankings of states on a democracy scale have consistently classified Israel as a democracy, if sometimes a flawed one. The relative weaknesses of this democracy, in both external and internal analysis, appear in freedom of expression, freedom of association, equality before the law, and judicial constraints on the executive. In practice, most of these problem areas are related to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the status of Israel’s Arab citizens.

Keywords: democracy, Basic Laws, Jewish politics, equality, participation, freedom of expression, freedom of association, Israeli Arabs

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